OBJECTIVE: To know the facilities and difficulties the palliative care team professionals experience in the implementation process of advance healthcare directives.
METHOD: Exploratory-descriptive study with a qualitative approach, involving 51 professionals from seven palliative care teams in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. The data were collected between December 2018 and April 2019 and discursive textual analysis was applied.
RESULTS: The facilities found were: the approach by the palliative care team; listening and respecting patients' wishes; effective communication between professionals, patients, and family members and resolution of difficult situations. The difficulties reported were: legal issues; the lack of knowledge of professionals about the subject; the lack of institutional protocols; the difficulty in talking about death and the family barrier.
CONCLUSION: Despite the perceived facilities and difficulties, palliative care professionals intend to work based on the patients' desires and will, aiming to offer dignity in the dying process.
Objective: The purpose of this study was to explore healthcare provider-perceived challenges to HBPC patient referral and elicited providers’ feedback for overcoming these challenges.
Methods: We conducted a qualitative study using semi-structured interviews with 25 Medicaid managed care providers (primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, and care managers) working in the greater Los Angeles area. Our interview protocol elicited providers’ knowledge and awareness of palliative care; perceived barriers to HBPC referral; and suggestions for overcoming these barriers. We analyzed verbatim transcripts using a grounded theory approach.
Results: Themes related to referral barriers included providers’ lack of palliative care knowledge and clarity regarding referral processes, provider reluctance to refer to HBPC, and provider culture. Providers also identified patient-level barriers, including financial barriers, reluctance to have home visits, health literacy, cultural barriers, and challenges related to living situations. Themes related to methods for overcoming challenges included increased HBPC education and outreach to providers, specifically by HBPC agency staff.
Conclusions: Findings from this study underscore the need for additional palliative care education for Medicaid healthcare providers. They point to the need for novel strategies and approaches to address the myriad barriers to patient identification and referral to HBPC.
Purpose: Prolonged living with chronic illness and disability expands the discussion of end-of-life conversation because of the complex role of intercommunication among patient, family, and healthcare staff. Little is known about such interaction from participants’ different perspectives. This qualitative case study examined end-of-life conversation among patient, family, and staff during long-term hospitalization in a neurological rehabilitation department.
Methods: After the patient’s death, 18 participants responded to in-depth semi-structured interviews: 16 healthcare staff and two family members (the patient’s wife and brother). In addition, we used the wife’s autoethnographic documentation of her experiences during end-of-life conversation.
Results: Thematic analysis produced three themes: (1) The Rehabilitation Department’s Mission – Toward Life or Death? (2) The Staff’s Perception of the Patient; (3) Containing Death: End-of-life Conversation from Both Sides of the Bed. These themes represented participants’ different perspectives in the intercommunication in overt and covert dialogues, which changed over time. Death’s presence–absence was expressed by movement between clinging to life and anticipating death.
Conclusion: The study findings emphasize the importance of practitioners’ training to accept and openly discuss death as an inseparable part of life-long disability, and the implementation of this stance during end-of-life care via sensitive conversations with patients and their families.
IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATION It is vital for rehabilitation professionals to be trained to process and accept end-of-life issues as a natural and inseparable part of the life discourse among people with disabilities and their families. Rehabilitation professionals need to acquire tools to grasp the spoken and unspoken issues related to life and death, and to communicate their impressions and understandings with people with disabilities and their families. Rehabilitation professionals need to encourage an open dialogue when communicating with people with disabilities and their families on processes related to parting and death.
INTRODUCTION: Little is known about the effects of HIV reservoir research at the end of life on staff members involved. Staff members' perceptions and experiences were assessed related to their involvement in the Last Gift, a rapid autopsy study at the University of California San Diego enrolling people living with HIV who are terminally ill and have a desire to contribute to HIV cure-related research.
METHODS: Two focus group discussions consisting of clinical (n = 7) and rapid research autopsy (n = 8) staff members were conducted to understand the perspectives of staff members and the impact the Last Gift rapid autopsy study had on them. The total sample consisted of 66.7% females and 33.3% males and was ethnically diverse (66.7% Caucasian, 6.7% African American, 20.0% Asian descent, 6.7% Hispanic descent and American Indian) with a range of experience in the HIV field from 1 year to 30 years.
RESULTS: Qualitative focus group data revealed five major themes underlying study staff members' multilayered mental and practical involvement: 1) positive perceptions of the Last Gift study, with sub-themes including Last Gift study participants' altruism, fulfillment, and control at the end of life, 2) perceptions of staff members' close involvement in the Last Gift study, with sub-themes related to staff members' cognitive processing, self-actualization and fulfillment, stress management and resilience, coping mechanisms, and gratitude toward Last Gift participants and toward the study itself, 3) considerations for successful and sustainable study implementation, such as ethical awareness and sustained community and patient engagement, 4) collaborative learning and organizational processes and the value of interdependence between staff members, and 5) considerations for potential study scale-up at other clinical research sites.
DISCUSSION: Understanding staff members' nuanced emotional and procedural experiences is crucial to the Last Gift study's sustainability and will inform similar cure research studies conducted with people living with HIV at the end of life. The study's potential reproducibility depends on a robust research infrastructure with established, interdependent clinical and rapid autopsy teams, continuous community engagement, and an ethical and well-informed engagement process with people living with HIV.
COVID-19 has truly affected most of the world over the past many months, perhaps more than any other event in recent history. In the wake of this pandemic are patients, family members, and various types of care providers, all of whom share different levels of moral distress. Moral conflict occurs in disputes when individuals or groups have differences over, or are unable to translate to each other, deeply held beliefs, knowledge, and values. Such conflicts can seriously affect healthcare providers and cause distress during disastrous situations such as pandemics when medical and human resources are stretched to the point of exhaustion. In the current pandemic, most hospitals and healthcare institutions in the United States have not allowed visitors to come to the hospitals to see their family or loved ones, even when the patient is dying. The moral conflict and moral distress (being constrained from doing what you think is right) among care providers when they see their patients dying alone can be unbearable and lead to ongoing grief and sadness. This paper will explore the concepts of moral distress and conflict among hospital staff and how a system-wide provider wellness programme can make a difference in healing and health.
OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to investigate the association between professional characteristics and the prevalence of advance directives among palliative care professionals.
METHODS: This is a descriptive cross-sectional study. A diverse sample of 327 healthcare professionals completed an online survey investigating demographic variables, length of time working in palliative care, post-graduate qualifications in palliative care, and development of their own advance directives.
RESULTS: The prevalence of advance directives among professionals working in palliative care was associated with factors such as higher academic qualifications, holding a post-graduate qualification in palliative care, and working in palliative care for a longer time. Furthermore, psychologists were most likely to have registered their own advance directives, compared with other healthcare professionals.
SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS: Post-graduate palliative care education and professional experience in this area appear to be important factors associated with palliative care professionals writing of their own advance directives. However, our study suggests that just being involved in or familiar with the context of palliative and end-of-life care does not guarantee that health professionals register their advance directives.
BACKGROUND: A recent randomized trial of bereaved family members of patients who died in an intensive care unit identified symptoms of depression and posttraumatic stress in recipients of semistructured condolence letters.
OBJECTIVES: To explore family member and clinician experiences with receiving or sending handwritten sympathy cards upon the death of patients involved in a personalized end-of-life intervention, the 3 Wishes Project.
METHODS: Interviews and focus groups were held with 171 family members and 222 clinicians at 4 centers to discuss their experiences with the 3 Wishes Project. Interview transcripts were searched to identify participants who discussed sympathy cards. Data related to sympathy cards were independently coded by 2 investigators through conventional content analysis.
RESULTS: Sympathy cards were discussed during 32 interviews (by 25 family members of 21 patients and by 11 clinicians) and 2 focus groups (8 other clinicians). Family members reported that personalized sympathy cards were a welcome surprise; they experienced them as a heartfelt act of compassion. Clinicians viewed cards as an opportunity to express shared humanity with families, reminding them that they and their loved one were not forgotten. Signing cards allowed clinicians to reminisce individually and collectively with colleagues. Family members and clinicians experienced sympathy cards as a meaningful continuation of care after a patient's death.
CONCLUSIONS: Inviting clinicians who cared for deceased patients to offer personalized, handwritten condolences to bereaved family members may cultivate sincere and individualized expressions of sympathy that bereaved families appreciate after the death of patients involved in the 3 Wishes Project.
De quoi et où meurent les Françaises et Français ? Quelle est l’offre sanitaire globale mais aussi plus spécifiquement de soins palliatifs aujourd’hui en France ? Quel est le profil des patients pris en charge dans les unités de soins palliatifs ? Quelle est la part des personnes âgées de 75 ans et plus dans les statistiques de mortalité ? Quelles sont leurs particularités ? Observe-t-on des différences géographiques concernant toutes ces données ?
Cette deuxième édition de l'Atlas national a vocation à répondre à ces multiples questions pour aider le lecteur à appréhender les enjeux et les réalités de l’accompagnement de la fin de vie et de la place des soins palliatifs en France aujourd’hui. Il rassemble des données démographiques, sanitaires qui sont analysées le plus finement possible pour mettre en lumière les spécificités départementales en termes d’offre sanitaire mais aussi de besoins des patients dans leurs trajectoires de fin de vie.
OBJECTIVES: The palliative and hospice care movement has expanded significantly in the United States since the 1960s. Neonatal end of life care, in particular, is a developing area of practice requiring healthcare providers to support terminally ill newborns and their families, to minimize suffering at the end of the neonate's life. This paper seeks to systematically summarize healthcare providers' perspectives related to end of life, in order to identify needs and inform future directions.
METHODS: Informed by the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines, we systematically reviewed the literature discussing healthcare provider perspectives of neonatal end of life care ranging from year 2009 to 2020. To be included in the review, articles had to explicitly focus on perspectives of healthcare providers toward neonatal end of life care, be published in academic peer-reviewed sources, and focus on care in the United States.
RESULTS: Thirty-three articles were identified meeting all inclusion criteria. The literature covers, broadly, provider personal attitudes, experiences delivering care, practice approaches and barriers, and education and training needs. The experiences of physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and nurses are highlighted, while less is discussed of other providers involved with this work (e.g., social work, physical therapy).
CONCLUSION: Future research should focus on developing and testing interventions aimed at training and supporting healthcare providers working with neonates at end of life, as well as addressing barriers to the development and implementation of neonatal palliative teams and guidelines across institutions.
INTRODUCTION: We hypothesized that trauma providers are reticent to consider palliative measures in acute trauma care.
METHODS: An electronic survey based on four patient scenarios with identical vital signs and serious blunt injuries, but differing ages and frailty scores was sent to WTA and EAST members.
RESULTS: 509 (24%) providers completed the survey. Providers supported early transition to comfort care in 85% old-frail, 53% old-fit, 77% young-frail, and 30% young-fit patients. Providers were more likely to transition frail vs. fit patients with (OR = 4.8 [3.8-6.3], p < 0.001) or without (OR = 16.7 [12.5-25.0], p < 0.001) an advanced directive (AD) and more likely to transition old vs. young patients with (OR = 2.0 [1.6-2.6], p < 0.001) or without (OR = 4.2 [2.8-5.0], p < 0.001) an AD.
CONCLUSIONS: In specific clinical situations, there was wide acceptance among trauma providers for the early institution of palliative measures. Provider decision-making was primarily based on patient frailty and age. ADs were helpful for fit or young patients. Provider demographics did not impact decision-making.
D'une certaine manière, on ne peut rejoindre l'autre en sa solitude sans sortir de la nôtre et ce qui se donne du premier coup d'oeil comme une possible limitation est, en fait, la meilleure voie qui nous soit accessible. Ce "lieu sans lieu" qui dit "je", qui relève de l'intime, peut être notre boussole intérieure : avec elle, nous reconnaissons l'appel à être, non pas le seul, mais un unique ; nous reconnaissons aussi notre manque fondamental qui ouvre au désir de l'altérité.
OBJECTIVE: To understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the hospice and palliative workforce and service delivery.
DESIGN AND SAMPLE: This was a cross-sectional survey of 36 hospice and palliative care workforce members representing all United States geographic regions.
RESULTS: Most respondents (70%) reported an increase in specific palliative care services as a result of the pandemic. Two thirds (78%) of respondents reported their agency has cared for confirmed COVID-19 patients. Only half reported the agency had access to laboratory facilities for surveillance and detection of outbreaks in both patients and staff (58%) and that the agency could test patients and providers for COVID-19 (55%). Qualitative comments described the impact of the pandemic and resulting social distancing measures on the emotional well-being of patients, families, and staff.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that the COVID-19 pandemic has strained the palliative and hospice care workforce as it provides increased services at an unprecedented rate to patients and families. The implications of these findings are important for public health nurses who are skilled in disaster management and quickly responding to emergencies. The expertise of public health nurses can be leveraged to support palliative care agencies as they strive to manage the pandemic in the communities they serve.
BACKGROUND: In recent years there has been increasing attention for the prevalence and prevention of burnout among healthcare professionals. There is unclarity about prevalence of burnout in healthcare professionals providing palliative care and little is known about effective interventions in this area.
AIM: To investigate the prevalence of (symptoms of) burnout in healthcare professionals providing palliative care and what interventions may reduce symptoms of burnout in this population.
DESIGN: A systematic literature review based on criteria of the PRISMA statement was performed on prevalence of burnout in healthcare professionals providing palliative care and interventions aimed at preventing burnout.
DATA SOURCES: PubMed, PsycInfo and Cinahl were searched for studies published from 2008 to 2020. Quality of the studies was assessed using the method of Hawkers for systematically reviewing research.
RESULTS: In total 59 studies were included. Burnout among healthcare professionals providing palliative care ranged from 3% to 66%. No major differences in prevalence were found between nurses and physicians. Healthcare professionals providing palliative care in general settings experience more symptoms of burnout than those in specialised palliative care settings. Ten studies reported on the effects of interventions aimed at preventing burnout. Reduction of one or more symptoms of burnout after the intervention was reported in six studies which were aimed at learning meditation, improving communication skills, peer-coaching and art-therapy based supervision.
CONCLUSION: The range of burnout among healthcare professionals providing palliative care varies widely. Interventions based on meditation, communication training, peer-coaching and art-therapy based supervision have positive effects but long-term outcomes are not known yet.
OBJECTIVE: Parents often feel ill-equipped to prepare their dependent children (<18 years old) for the death of a parent, necessitating support from professionals. The aim of this study is to explore health and social care professionals' (HSCPs) experiences and perceptions of providing supportive care to parents regarding their children, when a parent is dying from cancer.
METHODS: Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with 32 HSCPs, including nurses, allied health professionals, social workers and doctors from specialist or generalist roles, across acute or community sectors.
RESULTS: HSCPs' perceptions of the challenges faced by many families when a parent is dying from cancer included: parental uncertainties surrounding if, when and how to tell the children that their parent was dying, the demands of managing everyday life, and preparing the children for the actual death of their parent. Many HSCPs felt ill-equipped to provide care to parents at end of life concerning their children. The results are discussed under two themes: (1) hurdles to overcome when providing psychological support to parents at end of life and (2) support needs of families for the challenging journey ahead.
CONCLUSIONS: There appears to be a disparity between HSCPs' awareness of the needs of families when a parent is dying and what is provided in practice. HSCPs can have a supportive role and help equip parents, as they prepare their children for the death of their parent. Appropriate training and guideline provision could promote this important aspect of end of life care into practice.
There is a growing population of children with complex chronic conditions (CCCs) whose caregivers would benefit from palliative care (PC). However, little is known about caregivers' PC awareness. We aimed to describe PC awareness among caregivers of children with CCCs and identify factors associated with lack of PC awareness. We used the National Cancer Institute's national Health Information National Trends Survey 2018 data to determine the percentage of caregivers of ill children who have PC awareness. After matching, caregiver PC awareness was compared with that of (1) the general survey population, (2) other caregivers, and (3) caregivers not caring for children. We used multivariable regression to determine factors associated with lack of PC awareness. Of 131 caregivers, 60% had “never heard of” PC. Caregivers of children were no more likely to have heard of PC than the general survey population (P = .76), noncaregivers (P = .97), or caregivers of nonchildren (P = .13). Caregivers younger than 40 years and without a college degree were less likely to have PC awareness than their peers. Most caregivers of ill children have no PC awareness, with no more PC awareness than the general population. Nurses caring for children with CCCs can help educate families and other health care team members about PC.
BACKGROUND: Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and families facing challenges associated with life-threatening illness. In order to effectively deliver palliative care, patient and caregiver priorities need to be incorporated in advanced cancer care.
AIM: This study identified experiences of patients living with advanced colorectal cancer and their caregivers to inform the development of an early palliative care pathway.
DESIGN: Qualitative patient-oriented study.
SETTINGS/PARTICIPANTS: Patients receiving care at two cancer centres were interviewed using semistructured telephone interviews to explore their experiences with cancer care services received prior to a new developed pathway. Interviews were transcribed verbatim, and the data were thematically analysed.
RESULTS: From our study, we identified gaps in advanced cancer care that would benefit from an early palliative approach to care. 15 patients and 7 caregivers from Edmonton and Calgary were interviewed over the phone. Participants identified the following gaps in advanced cancer care: poor communication of diagnosis, lack of communication between healthcare providers, role and involvement of the family physician, lack of understanding of palliative care and advance care planning.
CONCLUSIONS: Early palliative approaches to care should consider consistent and routine delivery of palliative care information, collaborations among different disciplines such as oncology, primary care and palliative care, and engagement of patients and family caregivers in the development of care pathways.
The current COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated the redeployment of NHS staff to acute-facing specialties, meaning that care of dying people is being provided by those who may not have much experience in this area. This report details how a plan, do, study, act (PDSA) approach was taken to implementing improved, standardised multidisciplinary documentation of individualised care and review for people who are in the last hours or days of life, both before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The documentation and training produced is subject to ongoing review via the specialist palliative care team's continuously updated hospital deaths dashboard, which evaluates the care of patients who have died in the trust. We hope that sharing the experiences and outcomes of this process will help other trusts to develop their own pathways and improve the care of dying people through this difficult time and beyond.
Preparing for future scenarios in pediatric palliative care is perceived as complex and challenging by both families and healthcare professionals. This interpretative qualitative study using thematic analysis aims to explore how parents and healthcare professionals anticipate the future of the child and family in pediatric palliative care. Single and repeated interviews were undertaken with 42 parents and 35 healthcare professionals of 24 children, receiving palliative care. Anticipating the future was seen in three forms: goal-directed conversations, anticipated care, and guidance on the job. Goal-directed conversations were initiated by either parents or healthcare professionals to ensure others could align with their perspective regarding the future. Anticipated care meant healthcare professionals or parents organized practical care arrangements for future scenarios with or without informing each other. Guidance on the job was a form of short-term anticipation, whereby healthcare professionals guide parents ad hoc through difficult situations.
Conclusion: Anticipating the future of the child and family is mainly focused on achievement of individual care goals of both families and healthcare professionals, practical arrangements in advance, and short-term anticipation when a child deteriorates. A more open approach early in disease trajectories exploring perspectives on the future could allow parents to anticipate more gradually and to integrate their preferences into the care of their child. What is Known: ; Anticipating the future in pediatric palliative care occurs infrequently and too late. What is New: ; Healthcare professionals and parents use different strategies to anticipate the future of children receiving palliative care, both intentionally and unwittingly. Strategies to anticipate the future are goal-directed conversations, anticipated care, and guidance on the job. ; Parents and healthcare professionals are engaged to a limited extent in ongoing explorative conversations that support shared decision-making regarding future care and treatment.
Providing home care to children with complex physical health needs is an emotionally challenging role. Extant literature and documents such as the Cavendish Review (2013) have reported that a large proportion of care for this population is carried out by non-registered staff (support workers). Provision of clinical supervision for nurses working in palliative care is increasing, however, supervision needs of support workers are commonly neglected. This paper sought to synthesise what is known about clinical supervision practices for support workers in paediatric palliative care (PPC). A literature review was conducted in accordance with integrative review guidelines. 315 papers were identified initially, 15 studies were included in this review. Four commonalities were identified: importance of team cohesion, varying degrees of formality, self-awareness and practicalities. Support workers received varying forms of supervision and some facilitators faced organisational difficulties involving staff in supervision. Support workers who received staff support generally appreciated it in recognition that their work is complex and emotionally difficult. This paper highlighted that further research should investigate the efficacy of clinical supervision as a method of reducing stress and burnout for support workers. Any implementation of supervision should involve a considered approach to training and supervision to ensure fidelity.